¿Son los Seres Humanos Culpables del Calentamiento Global?

El calentamiento global es un problema ambiental, económico, científico y político de primer orden, y uno doblemente difícil de enfrentar porque sus peligros se encuentran a décadas en el futuro. Entonces, si hemos de actuar ahora para hacerla a un lado, primero debemos examinar lo que se sabe de la naturaleza de la amenaza. ¿Debemos tener fe en el Tratado de Kyoto, el cual establece firmes límites para las emisiones de los llamados gases invernadero generadas por los seres humanos? ¿O tiene razón la administración de Estados Unidos (EU) al rechazar el Tratado de Kyoto porque la definición de las emisiones objetivo se basa en una "mala ciencia"?

La evidencia circunstancial sin duda apunta hacia nuestro abundante consumo de combustibles fósiles y quizá también hacia su impacto en el calentamiento global. Desde 1900 la temperatura global de la atmósfera terrestre y del agua superficial de los océanos ha aumentado entre 0.5 y 1 grado centígrado y el principal sospechoso es el dióxido de carbono en la atmósfera, CO 2 , que está sólo por debajo del vapor de agua en cuanto al efecto invernadero. Desde 1860, cuando la revolución industrial y el amplio crecimiento demográfico llevaron al uso generalizado de combustibles fósiles, el volúmen de CO 2 en la atmósfera se ha incrementado cerca de 28%.

El incremento tuvo un inicio lento, pasando de 290 partes por millón (ppm) en 1860 a 295 ppm en 1900. Pero entonces aceleró rápidamente, alcanzando las 310 ppm en 1950 y las 370 ppm en el 2000, con la mitad del incremento total de 80 ppm ocurriendo a partir de 1975. Los modelos númericos de clima global sugieren que si la actual acumulación de CO 2 en la atmósfera se duplica habrá un calentamiento extra de 3-5 grados centígrados, quizá tan pronto como el 2050.

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